Why Big is NOT Better..
If you only take one thing away from reading this site, it should be to avoid going to a large corporate tutoring center! No matter who you choose to hire, it should be a private tutor or a small tutoring company.
My Experience with the Big Guys
Upon being hired after a short interview, I was told I would need to come in and take a practice SAT & ACT and score above a certain number to demonstrate knowledge of the material. Also, I would need to complete 3 shadowing hours in which I would watch an experienced tutor conduct a session. Fast forward a few days later and due to a shortage of teachers, I am working with a new student without any of these requirements completed. Fast forward a year later, and still none of the requirements were completed.
By the time I left, I would estimate the turnover of teachers to be over 60%. Why? It's simple, tutors get paid $12/hr. It's difficult to put your son/daughter's future college plans in the hands of someone severely underpaid. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good tutors within these companies. However, the majority move on as quickly as possible (and set up websites warning of the cons you will experience with a large company).
I was, under no circumstance, allowed to have direct communication with parents. There were several occasions where a parent was denied the opportunity to discuss how their child was doing with me. Imagine paying close to $100-$250/hr and not be allowed to talk to the person actually working with your son/daughter on a weekly basis.
The programs applied at these companies are rigid. They are standardized, such as the tests students there are preparing for. This may not be an issue to you if you agree with a one size fits all educational structure, however, I'm willing to bet you've realized the importance of acknowledging the differences in learning styles of individual students.
There is a binder that you must teach page by page. Flexibility is virtually non-existent as all decisions are pre-determined by the binder. The only opportunities I had to apply my own strategies were after the binder was completed which took 12 hours per subject.
Please, don't misunderstand...
I am not criticizing the people who work at these companies. I met some wonderful people and also, worked for some wonderful people during my time there. You will also be able to find parents and students who enjoyed positive experiences at these companies. The faults I speak of are corporate red-tape and bottom-line profit issues that affect the quality of instruction.
My final word of advice if you do wish to try a large company is to make sure you know someone who had success at the particular company you are going to. Find out which math and verbal tutor they worked with and continually insist that your son/daughter only work with those tutors even if it means missing a week because of a tutor being absent.